EXHIBITION #2: Ole Miss vs. Delta State
November 6, 2006 7 p.m. CT
Oxford, Miss. C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum (8,700)
OLE MISS HOSTS SECOND EXHIBITION
Ole Miss gets its final preseason tuneup tonight, as the Rebels host Delta State in their second exhibition. Ole Miss outscored North Alabama 108-103 Friday in the team’s first competitive action under first-year head coach Andy Kennedy. The Rebels face Mississippi Valley State in the season opener Friday at 7 p.m. at Tad Smith Coliseum. That encounter can be seen live on OleMissSports.tv.
Members of the Ole Miss Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and other Rebel student-athletes will be collecting non-perishable items for the Oxford Food Pantry prior to tonight's game. Fans that bring three non-perishable items will receive free admission.
REBELS ENTER KENNEDY ADMINISTRATION
On March 24, 2006, Andy Kennedy was introduced as the 20th head men's basketball coach in the history of the University of Mississippi. A Louisville, Miss., native, Kennedy spent the 2005-06 season as the interim head coach at the University of Cincinnati.
With less than three months to prepare and shorthanded on staff and scholarship players, Kennedy had to lead a shaken Bearcat program that was preparing for its debut season in the BIG EAST. Despite the obstacles, he directed Cincinnati to a 21-13 record, defeating 12 foes ranked in the Top 100 of the RPI and playing a schedule rated fifth-toughest in the nation. Kennedy's Bearcats narrowly missed an NCAA Tournament bid and had their season end in the NIT quarterfinals.
Kennedy proved himself both as an astute strategist and a top-notch recruiter in more than a decade of coaching in the college ranks. Athlon named him one of the nation's top 10 assistant coaches, and Rivals.com listed him among the top 20 college basketball recruiters. In addition to Cincinnati, Kennedy was also an assistant at his alma mater UAB and South Alabama.
SCOUTING DELTA STATE
Jason Conner enters his first season as Delta Staet head coach and the legendary Steve Rives who announced his retirement in April after 20 seasons at the helm of the Statesmen basketball program. Rives’ final year at DSU was the best in school history, as the Statesmen finished last season 30-2 en route to claiming the GSC title and the nation’s No.1 ranking in Division II. Delta State advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to UA-Monticello. Graduating from that team is senior center Jasper Johnson, who averaged more than 20 points and eight rebounds per game in earning national DII Player of the Year honors. DSU returns only three players and no starters from last year’s squad.
OLE MISS-DSU SERIES
In regular-season play, Ole Miss trails the all-time series with Delta State 4-2. All six meetings were staged between 1937 and 1942, and the in-state foes split the four meetings in Oxford.
Delta State athletics director Brad Teague worked at Ole Miss before grabbing the reins of the Stateman program. Teague spent seven years with the UMAA Foundation, and served as Associate Director from 1998-2003.
Long-time Ole Miss media relations director Langston Rogers was the sports information director at Delta State for 17 years before coming to Oxford. He also earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and played baseball at DSU.
In addition, Stan Sandroni, an 18-year member of the Ole Miss radio team, joined the Rebels after 17 years as the play-by-play voice of the Statemen.
FIRST EXHIBITION: OLE MISS 108, UNA 103
Five Ole Miss players scored in double-figures, as Andy Kennedy’s first exhibition as Rebel coach provided plenty of points in a 108-103 preseason victory over North Alabama.
Senior Bam Doyne scored 21 points to lead Ole Miss while sophomore Trey Hampton added 19 and accounted for the first six points of the contest for the Rebels. Clarence Sanders connected on 4-of-4 3-point field goals in dropping in 14 on the night.
Ole Miss opened the game with a 14-1 run and led by as much as 20, but the Lions would use three 3-pointers from Quinn Beckwith to narrow the advantage to three and a 54-49 deficit at the break.
Although Ole Miss never trailed in the game, UNA would keep it close throughout the second half, as the clubs combined for 108 points in the period. The Rebels shot 55.6 percent for the game, forced 21 turnovers and outrebounded the Lions 44-39.
The Rebels have reached the 100-point plateau only twice over the last seven seasons.
1981 TEAM REMEMBERED AT SEASON OPENER
At Friday’s season opener, Ole Miss will be honoring its ground-breaking 1981 team, which captured the SEC Tournament championship and earned the program's first postseason appearance. Under the direction of head coach Bob Weltlich, Ole Miss defeated Tennessee (81-71) and Vanderbilt (71-51) in reaching the 1981 SEC Tournament championship game against Georgia. The underdog Rebels, who finished sixth in the league in the regular season, captured the title with a 66-62 victory over the Bulldogs, propelling the team to its NCAA Tournament debut.
A sophomore guard on that Ole Miss squad, James Green will be at Friday’s contest as the head coach for Mississippi Valley State. Cecil Dowell was also a sophomore in the Rebel backcourt in 1981 and later served as an assistant coach for MVSU. Tragically, Dowell lost his life in a car accident on May 20 of this year. He is survived by his daughter, Paris Terry, and remembered by his Ole Miss family.
Other members of the Rebels' first postseason team are Chris Barrett, Carlos Clark, Ken Coghlan, Rob Drum, Curtis McAllister, Norman Miller, Lane Shoup, Roger Stieg, Tim Thomas, Sean Tuohy and Elston Turner.
OLEMISSSPORTS.TV TO STREAM LIVE GAMES
Rebel fans can catch the Ole Miss basketball team in action on OleMissSports.tv this season, as the premium site for OleMissSports.com will air live webcasts for seven home games.
Included in the schedule is the season opener with Mississippi Valley State on Friday and the Louisiana-Lafayette game on Nov. 14. The slate also includes Tennessee Tech, Nicholls State, Louisiana-Monroe, UIC and Alabama A&M.
OleMissSports.tv offers interviews and features with the teams, live streaming of coaches’ press conference, video of great games in Ole Miss history, and more. The site showcases the coaches’ weekly TV and radio shows as well as live video coverage of select live home and road Rebel sporting events.
CURTIS OUT WITH INJURY
Ole Miss is without junior center Dwayne Curtis after the preseason All-SEC honoree fractured the third metatarsal in his left foot in the third day of preseason practice. His status is day-to-day.
Dwayne Curtis earned some notoriety from the college basketball preview magazines, picking up preseason All-SEC third team accolades from Lindy’s. The publication also rated the junior the 17th-best center in the nation. Also garnering preseason honors was sophomore guard Justin Cerasoli, who was listed among the nation’s top 25 transfers by Athlon. The 6-foot-5 Chicago native sat out last year after transferring from Seton Hall.
REBELS FACE CHALLENGING SCHEDULE
Ole Miss takes on four of last year’s NCAA Elite Eight teams, including two of the last three national champions as part of the 2006-07 schedule. The Rebels are facing two-time national champ UConn as part of the Hispanic College Fund Classic in Hartford, Conn. The non-conference slate is also highlighted by the renewal of the Mid-South rivalry with Memphis at the FedEx Forum. Other road opponents include Saint Louis and South Alabama.
The always challenging SEC schedule features home-and-home battles with the five Western Division rivals, including Final Four participant LSU. The Rebels also match up with all six SEC East foes and travel to Gainesville for a date with 2006 NCAA Champion Florida.
Ole Miss is slated to make at least 13 television appearances this season. In one of five games on Fox Sports Net, the Rebels open league play with Kentucky in a Saturday night clash in Oxford on FSN South. Ole Miss and Mississippi State renew their bitter rivalry in Oxford with an ESPN “Super Tuesday” showdown. In addition, the Rebels are set to play four games on Lincoln Financial Sports, two on CSS and a first-ever ESPNU appearance at Connecticut.